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Published

22 June 2024

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Late solstices

Gloria Dawson

My feet were going. As I heard the long voicenote I realized it wasn’t the world slipping on its axis, but black ice, impossible to see in this light ending and sliding out of the bright plughole.

I stood just there by the Polish shop and out of the window of the world came a music, something like an electric oud and a voice, from nowhere, everywhere, from somewhere, and I stood with my mouth open trying to work out where on the wind it was coming from.

It was as if I had become in that moment invisible. I was imagining time held out for me in a different way, like the whole sky was an invitation for me to walk in a different direction and dimension, backwards toward the beginning of the day, not forwards toward sunset.

And the spires of the two empty churches appeared round the sunset corner like the teeth of a dream. The stopped sun meant something then, like all the gilded stones were the tenements of good fortune, and something to be found in them much better than gold.

Who would panic first if the earth literally stopped and who would sound the alarm? When the sun refuses to set, what would be the first and last things to hold out?

I had always wanted to hear stories in the evening, but it was only when we had taken over the houses that could never belong to us that stories in the evening could blossom. I began the tale; Going through the neighbourhood hungry at dusk, I saw the two spires pierce the park and it came to me that for the last hour or more, the sun had been stopped at sunset.

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